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The Golden Magnet   By: (1831-1909)

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The Golden Magnet, by George Manville Fenn.

Books by George Manville Fenn are full of dreadful situations which the reader cannot see the way out of. This one is no exception, in fact we would easily say that it is one of his best.

Harry goes adventuring, and with him goes Tom, a young worker at Harry's father's soap boiling factory. Tom is wonderful. He gets Harry out of numerous dire situations, and the book would not work without him. He is down to earth, and full of commonsense and energy.

Despite all sorts of adverse conditions and persons, they get the gold, and put everybody's affairs to rights, killing the villain, of course, on the way. And marrying the heroine, even though she is his first cousin.

A good example of a late nineteenth century teenager's book, and if you like that sort of thing you will enjoy it too, for it is what used to be called a crackingly good yarn.

THE GOLDEN MAGNET, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

INTRODUCTORY.

Daybreak in the Incas' realm on the far western shores, known to our fathers as the great wonderland the great country discovered by adventurous mariners, and thought of, dreamed of, seen through a golden mist raised by the imagination a mist which gave to everything its own peculiar hue; and hence the far off land was whispered of as "El Dorado," the gilded, "the Golden Americas," and the country whose rivers ran over golden sand, whose rocks were veined with the coveted ore; and nations vied with each other in seeking to humble the haughty Spaniard, whose enterprise had gained him the strongest footing in the coveted region.

Daybreak at Tehutlan, the Incas' city, in the year 1533, and the peaks of the mighty mountains that appeared to pierce the bright blue sky, appearing to bear out the fabulous belief of the eastern lands, for their icy summits glowed, and flushed, and sparkled in the rays of the sun, which gilded every pinnacle and turned each glacier into a river of gold, seeming to flow slowly downwards towards the vales and plains of the Andes, as yet flooded with the darkness of the night.

But soon the purple flood of darkness began to give place to golden light, as, still streaming down, as it were, from the mountain tops, the sunshine leaped in bright cataracts from point to point, rushing up this dark gully, that vast fissure, turning gloom into glowing landscape, and at last filling the vast vales with gladness and life, as the glowing picture burst into full beauty.

Here, at the foot of the mountains, flowed the mighty rivers of South America, bordered by the vast, eternal tropic forest, with its dank, steaming moisture the home of the fierce beast, the loathsome reptile, and insect plagues innumerable. Far up the mountains was the land of ice and snow, fierce biting wind, and sleety tempest, with here and there patches of verdure, the pastoral land of the vicuna and llama flocks; but in the intermediate space, balanced, as it were, between the tropical heat and the wintry frosts, on the table lands half way up the mountains, was the stronghold of the Peruvian civilisation. So near to the equator that intolerable heat might have been expected, an expectation, though, not fulfilled, for the elevation gave to the Peruvians a glorious climate, with all the brightness but none of the enervation of equatorial land.

Cottage, house, and palace, of no mean construction, were scattered here and there, the homes of peasant and Peruvian noble. But it was upon the temple crowning a near elevation that the eye would rest, in rapt astonishment at its magnificence and grandeur. The description may sound like a scrap from some eastern fable, but none the less it is a fact culled from the pages of history.

For as that bright morning sun peered at length above the shoulder of an eastern hill, it was to shine full upon the Temple of the Sun and its glorious gardens... Continue reading book >>




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